It’s been a rough year all around for the Colorado Avalanche. They currently are the owners of the worst overall record in the NHL at 16-39-3 for just 35 points. The next closest team is the Arizona Coyotes, who are 14 points better. Seemingly the only breaks they are catching are the bones of their players (they’ll miss you, Nikita Zadorov).

Yet, with a cup-half-full mentality, Avalanche fans can get excited about one thing: defenseman Erik Johnson has started practicing again. After breaking his fibula back on Dec. 3, Johnson took to the ice in Monday’s practice, partaking in some light skating and drills. Then, on Tuesday, he shed the noncontact sweater in exchange for a burgundy one, and participated fully.

Prior to his injury, Johnson played in 23 games where he put up one goal and 10 assists. The lynchpin of the Avalanche blueline, he averaged 22 minutes per night before going down; a number that is sure to go up with Zadorov out for the season with a fractured ankle.

The Avs are set to face off against the Nashville Predators this Thursday. Although they likely will still be without Johnson, his return will be highly anticipated, likely coming on saturday against the Buffalo Sabres.